The impossibly stylish city of oaks is justifiably famous for its heritage architecture, view-drenched wine estates, and some of the finest restaurants in the land. Here, we round up the ones that have grabbed our attention – from haute-cuisine hotel restaurants to homely country kitchens, family-friendly farms, and even a self-service burger deck.
1. RUST EN VREDE
An all-round first-class experience awaits you at the warm and welcoming restaurant on the gorgeous Rust and Vrede estate. With someone to greet you on arrival, stellar service throughout your meal, and exquisitely plated, vibrant and delicious French-inspired cuisine, it’s no wonder that two of SA’s finest chefs – Gregory Czarnecki and Luke Dale-Roberts – rate it among the best restaurants in the land. Housed in the estate’s original 1785 cellar, the restaurant also won a spot on Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants in the World in 2014.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 11pm
Contact 021 881 3881, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Rust en Vrede, Annandale Road, Stellenbosch
Situated on the slopes of the Kleine Zalze estate in the famed Stellenbosch winelands, this venue is so much more than four walls. Dining at Terroir is an absorbing experience in which time simultaneously stands still and slips by. This could be attributed to the rustling of the oak trees, or the view of the verdant golf course, or the food, the hospitality or the wine. But we think it’s the combination of all.
Guests can choose to dine on the outdoor terrace or head indoors. The relaxed décor makes you feel right at home, with warm service complementing this feeling. When your waitron has worked in the same restaurant for close on a decade, you know you’re onto a good thing.
No matter the season, you can count on head chef Michael Broughton and his team for exquisite presentation, flavour combinations and textures that surprise and delight.
Good to know Should you wish to linger even longer, the estate is home to a four-star lodge with sweeping vineyard and mountain views.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm; Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 9pm
Contact021 880 8167, email@example.com
Location Kleine Zalze Wine Estate, Die Boord, Strand Road, R44
3. Delaire Graff Restaurant
Situated on the dramatic Helshoogte Pass, Delaire Graff Restaurant is the full package when it comes to dining in the winelands, offering incredible views, immaculate interiors and excellent fare (so the steep prices should come as no surprise). Chef Kieran White’s exquisite menu offers classic bistro favourites with South African twists, and incorporates ingredients picked daily from the estate’s own greenhouse and vegetable garden.
Good to know The Delaire Graff Estate is also home to Indochine, an Asian-inspired fine-dining restaurant headed by chef Virgil Kahn, whose theatrical dishes burst with vibrant flavours.
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 2pm; Wednesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 9pm
Contact 021 885 8160, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Delaire Graff Restaurant, Helshoogte Road, Stellenbosch
4. Restaurant Jardine
George Jardine, the talent behind the acclaimed Jordan Restaurant, opened this exciting eatery in 2016, having earmarked the spot opposite the Stellenbosch Hotel years ago, and patiently waiting for it to become available. Inside, an old house has been converted into a warm and homely space where guests can expect a mouth-watering smorgasbord of chef Jardine’s signature flavourful dishes, paired with some of the best wines in Stellenbosch.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm (à la carte lunch)
Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 8pm (two-, three- or six-course set dinner; six-course tasting before 7.30pm only)
Contact 021 886 5020, email@example.com
Location Restaurant Jardine, 1 Andringa Street
5. Spek & Bone
Named after their pets, Spek (a pig) and Bone (a boxer), Bertus and Mareli Basson’s latest offering is tucked away, just off Dorp Street, next to the original Stellenbosch Market. Not only does it feature the oldest vine in Stellenbosch, its entrance will make you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret gem.
The Afrikaans saying “om vir spek en boontjies te werk” can be translated as “working for ordinary, good food rather than for money” – a concept that is echoed in the honest-to-goodness food offering and warm, relaxed interior. Here, the designed-to-share plates are the star of the show, supported by an excellent wine list.
We recommend dining al fresco-style in the hidden courtyard (if the sun’s out) and ordering as many plates as possible. Be sure to end off your meal with the mouthwatering Peppermint Crisp Cone.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11.3am – 2.30pm; 5.30pm – 9pm
Contact 082 569 8958, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Spek & Bone, 84 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
6. The Vine Bistro
Fronted by chef Christophe Dehosse (whose small menu changes regularly), this hidden gem is situated within a state-of-art building at Glenelly Estate and could just be equipped to rival even the biggest rivals in the area. It offers a French-inspired dining experience, no doubt reflected in the warm, yet elegant decor, which includes a mix of 19th-century chairs and classic Parisian tables.
On chilly days, it’s rather nice to cosy up to the fireplace, or gather in the elegant wine-tasting area above the restaurant; but if the sun is out, sit at one of the long wooden tables on the outside deck or under the pergola, and enjoy beautiful views of the vineyards and surrounding hills while enjoying your meal.
Good to know May de Lencquesaing, owner of Glenelly Estate, is quite the glass collector; she has one of the largest privately owned glass collections in the world. Glenelly Estate’s glass museum provides a fascinating glimpse into 2 000 years worth of glassmaking
Inside info Wine aficionados will be interested to know that The Vine Bistro will soon be adding a small selection of rare Pichon wines to its menu.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm; Thursday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 8pm
Contact 021 809 6444, email@example.com
Location Glenelly Estate, Ida’s Valley, Lelie Street
7. Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar
The ever-popular De Warenmarkt (already home to Simon Wine Bar, The Kitchen, Ryan Boon Specialty Butcher and Deluxe Coffeeworks) welcomed the Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar in March 2017, where bubbly flows and fresh Saldanha Bay oysters abound. (What else do you really need?)
Good to know If MCC is not your thing, work your way through the solid Stellenbosch Wine of Origin wine list.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 7.30am – 9.30pm (Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar)
11am – 12pm (Simon Wine Bar)
Contact 021 883 2274, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar, De Warenmarkt, 20 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
8. Jordan Restaurant
You’ll find George Jardine’s acclaimed restaurant on one of Stellenbosch’s most picturesque wine estates. Here, George and head chef Kyle Burn’s meticulous dishes are served by professional, enthusiastic staff. If you love cheese, you’ll fall in love with the walk-in cheese room filled with local cheeses such as Fairview Blue Rock and Klein Rivier Gruyère.
Good to know Jordan Estate is also home to The Bakery, a relaxed eatery, with beautiful garden scenery, where alfresco breakfasts (or lazy lunches on the deck) are highly recommended.
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 2pm; Thursday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 10.30pm (in season)
Contact 021 881 3612, email@example.com
Location Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch Kloof Road, Stellenbosch
Situated on the foothills of the imposing Helderberg Mountain on Hidden Valley Wine Farm, Overture has grown into a foodie destination of note, well-loved for its modern South African cuisine, beautiful views and impressive setting.
Drawing inspiration from their mother’s recipes and early food memories, chef Bertus Basson and his hard-working team delight diners with refined dishes as well as bold fire-grilled plates.
Good to know In August 2018 Bertus opened Eike, an elegantly edgy fine-dining restaurant in the heart of Stellenbosch, which takes his tally of restaurants to six!
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 5pm; Thursday – Saturday, 7pm – 12am
Contact 021 880 2721, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Overture, Hidden Valley Wines, T4 Route, off Annandale Road, R44, Stellenbosch
10. THE RESTAURANT AT CLOS MALVERNE
Set amid vines and lush meadows, this inviting winelands restaurant fulfils the need for fuss-free yet elegant dining. Guests can order from an à la carte menu, or choose the popular four-course food-and-wine pairing, enjoyed with the breathtaking views from the restaurant’s wraparound balcony.
Clos Malverne is a small family-owned farm steeped in tradition. Wines are handmade, using time-honoured wine-making traditions such as basket-pressing, and open-top fermenters in the cellars.
Good to know If you’re looking for a unique wine-tasting experience, you should try Clos Malverne’s ice cream and wine pairing. Afterwards, you’ll wonder why no-one thought of it before.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm
Open on public holidays (except Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Contact 021 865 2022, email@example.com
Location Clos Malverne, Devon Valley Road
Simonsig Wine Estate’s Cuvée Restaurant is the epitome of warm hospitality and old-world elegance, with a proudly modern-South African twist. The terrace has uninterrupted views of the majestic Simonsberg Mountain, making it a lovely venue for a leisurely breakfast, lunch or dinner. The passionate and dedicated culinary team uses local and seasonal ingredients to create an ever-changing menu full of fresh but comforting flavours, with dishes that pair well with the terroir-driven wines.
Opening times Daily, 8.30am – 11am; 11.30am – 4pm / 3pm on Sundays; Wednesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 888 4932, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Simonsig Wine Estate, Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof
12. The FatButcher
It opened in 2016 and already this relatively new steakhouse is being hailed for its top-quality meat (ask for pasture-reared if that’s your preference). Set in a traditionally Cape-style building, this restaurant offers guests a choice sitting indoors in the rustic yet oddly elegant eatery, in the attractive courtyard outside, or on the street-facing porch.
We recommend the steak, obviously. And leave space for a Belgian brownie!
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11.30am – 10.30pm
Contact 021 882 8705, email@example.com
Location The FatButcher, Number 1, van Riebeek Street, Stellenbosch
13. Red Leaf Bistro
Beyerskloof’s Red Leaf Bistro is where you should head for serene views across the Boland vineyards, lovely food, and superior wines in a relaxed family-friendly setting. This tidy bistro, where vast lawns are edged by lush vineyards, is still something of a hidden gem in the region, but we don’t expect it to remain that way for long!
Opening times Daily, 10am – 3.30pm; Public Holidays, 9am – 3pm
Contact 021 865 2685, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Beyerskloof Wine Estate, Koelenhof Road, R304
14. Cucina di Giovanni
Owing to the success of Giovanni’s long-standing Somerset West restaurant, the owners were inspired to introduce a sister restaurant at Eikendal Wine Estate, where the beautiful farm setting and picturesque views cap off a casual, family-friendly winelands experience.
In addition to a tasty Italian-themed menu, there’s also a kiddies’ menu (and a play park), so you can enjoy some of the estate’s award-winning wines, while the little ones play nearby.
We recommend the Cucina di Giovanni pizza – Parma ham and rocket – because we’re pizza purists. But if you like exotic ingredients on yours try Peter’s Pizza: tomato, mozzarella, beef fillet, red onion, mushroom and avocado.
Good to know There’s talk of a Giovannis opening at Laborie Estate in Paarl. In the meantime, enjoy tapas and pizzas at Pearl Rock Terrace, its sister restaurant.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 4pm; 6pm – 10pm
Sunday, 12pm – 4pm
Contact 021 855 5033, email@example.com
Location Eikendal Wine Estate, R44, Eikendal Road, Stellenbosch
Tucked away in the historic Coopmanhuijs Hotel on Church Street, Helena’s is one of Stellenbosch’s most precious gems. The concise menu keeps things intimate and focused on South African flavours.
Read our full review of Helena’s Restaurant.
We recommend the rack of lamb, (cut from certified Karoo meat) and served with charred aubergine, fine beans, pearl couscous, chakalaka and yoghurt.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12.30pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 883 3132, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 33 Church Street
16. Postcard Café
This laidback restaurant is aptly named, as it can be found at one of the most naturally beautiful settings in the Jonkershoek Valley. With a selection of casual lunch options and delicious baked goods, the venue is ideal for a lazy family lunch or sumptuous winelands breakfast. All of this can be enjoyed in view of vast lawns and a tranquil dam.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 4pm
Contact 021 861 7703, email@example.com
Location Stark-Conde Wine Estate, Jonkershoek Valley
17. Oppie Dorp
Located in central Stellenbosch, Oppie Dorp offers simple decor that is rather charming, and the good service will having you coming back again and again.
We recommend anything off the small, but flavourful, menu. Popular favourites include springbok carpaccio (topped with roasted almonds, Parmesan shavings and balsamic reduction swirl); venison and beef fillet medallions.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm
Saturday, 6pm – 11pm
Sunday (June – July), 12pm – 3pm; (August – May), 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm
Contact 021 883 3889, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 137 Dorp Street
18. Stellenbosch Kitchen
This family-style restaurant, housed in a historic building dating back to 1706, can be found on the corner of Dorp and Andringa Streets, and offers delicious local fare at reasonable prices. The restaurant’s pasture-to-plate approach means that only the region’s finest seasonal ingredients – sourced mainly from suppliers and growers within a 50km radius of the town – are used in the preparation of the flavourful dishes.
Sit on the terrace under the ancient oaks and watch the passers-by, or grab a table in the homely bistro, whose earthy tones blend perfectly with the wooden tables and patterned parquet floors. Posters of vintage postage stamps and decorative plates set into the bright-red walls add interest. For good old-fashioned hospitality and friendly service, you’ll have to go a long way to beat this friendly bistro.
We recommend a starter of risotto with exotic mushrooms, Grana Padano and truffle oil topped with finely sliced spring onions from the dinner menu. The roasted rack of Karoo lamb with carrot purée, spiced pear chutney, polenta and fine beans is delicious, as is the chocolate fondant dessert of black cherry and Valrhona chocolate with Bulgarian-yoghurt ice cream.
Try not to fill up on the complimentary bread board featuring a selection of in-house baked breads accompanied by delicious olive tapenade and herb butter – it’s almost a meal in itself. The wine list is pretty impressive, too.
X factor It’s covetable location in the historic heart of the city of oaks!
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 10.30am
Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 4pm
Monday – Sunday, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Contact 021 883 2893,
Location Corner Dorp and Andringa Streets, Stellenbosch
Reviewer Jackie Lange
WE ALSO RATE THESE STELLENBOSCH SPOTS
Oude Werf Restaurant A chic hotel-restaurant that serves modern comfort food that’s flavourful and ethically sourced.
Waterkloof Wines A shining glass tower in the winelands, French wizard Gregory Czarnecki conjures up recipes inspired by his food-loving homeland.
Mise en Place You’ll find this relative newcomer at Asara Wine Estate & Hotel. Sit inside the elegant whitewashed restaurant or, if the weather is fair, on the waterside terrace, which overlooks miles mountains. Before heading home, make a turn at the hotel’s Gin Lounge, which boasts the largest selection of gins on the continent!
Tokara Restaurant Another Helshoogte beauty, the fine-dining restaurant at this wine and olive farm offers picture-perfect views of the surrounds. Don’t feel like fine-dining? Grab a valley-facing table at the family-friendly delicatessen.
96 Winery Road Fresh, seasonal produce, and a mouth-watering menu complemented by Ken Forrester and Meinert wines.
Makaron Restaurant This elegant, award-winning restaurant at Majeka House now offers an exciting small plates menu, courtesy of top chef, Lucas Carstens.
The Deck Courtesy of Bertus Basson (see above), this casual self-service joint on Hidden Valley Wine Farm serves mouthwatering burgers, with spectacular views.
Peter Falke Wines This contemporary tasting room (with great outdoor seating, including lazy beanbag loungers) does cheese platters, nachos, soup, meat options and even dessert!
La Pineta Located within a tranquil pine forest, previously known as Louw se Bos, this restaurant’s meat-driven menu is its drawcard, but there are other creative options available, too.
Floréal Brasserie Situated at Marianne Wine Estate, this casual restaurant serves fresh, brasserie-style food with a Franco-South African twist.
Dornier Bodega Housed in a restored barn, this family-friendly spot offers a seasonal menu of beautiful dishes, as well as a dedicated kiddies’ menu.
Somerbosch Bistro This wonderfully affordable, relaxed family bistro, located at Somerbosch estate, does daily specialities that are seasonal and scrumptious.
Mont Marie Surrounded by nature, this modern winelands restaurant is an affordable, family-friendly choice. Overlooking mountains and a nearby dam, the restaurant offers cosy indoor and leisurely outdoor seating.
Guardian Peak Restaurant Protected by mountains and boasting stunning views, this restaurant’s à la carte menu offers affordable, bistro-style options, with a focus on prime-quality steaks.
Joostenberg Bistro Another well-priced family bistro, you’ll find Joostenberg just off the N1. Here, French-inspired cuisine is served in an idyllic country setting complete with freely roaming chickens (and a lovely rose nursery nearby).
Le Venue Located at the House of JC Le Roux, with incredible views of Devon Valley, this contemporary restaurant does lovely breakfasts and light lunches that go down well with a glass or two of bubbly.
Towerbosch Yet another hidden gem, this elegant eatery on Knorhoek wine farm is a popular wedding venue that does delicious meals.
Restaurant Barrique Located at Vredenheim Estate, this owner-run restaurant makes for a delightful, warm dining experience – whether you sit in the restored wine cellar or out in the garden.
Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery The second of the Hoghouse branches is at Spier Wine Estate, and offers a variety of food and drinks, including craft-beer tasting and a selection of meaty specialties. The dreamy farm setting is always a win.
The Bakery at Jordan With beautiful garden views and a relaxed country vibe, this modern restaurant offers delicious light meals (as well as pastries, fresh coffee and just-baked bread) that can be enjoyed on the deck or lawns, al fresco style.
The Big Easy We nearly didn’t include this one, after Ernie was spotted playing golf with Donald Trump. Anyhow, we thought we’d give him the benefit of the doubt because the food is good, the wine list is excellent, and the building that houses the restaurant dates back to 1798, and is an interesting mix of Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architectural styles.
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